Joyce Goldstein/The New Mediterranean Jewish Table
Recipes copyright 2016 The Regents of the University of California
The classic Italian Jewish Friday night rice dish is saffron-flavored rice, which recalls
the classic risotto alla milanese. Some cooks make it in the manner of a risotto, adding broth in increments, as is done here. Others prepare it as a pilaf, adding the liquid all at once and covering the pan. In La cucina nella tradizione ebraica, the rice is sautéed in oil, the hot broth is added, and then the pan is covered and finished in the oven. Once out of the oven, the rice rests, covered, for 10 minutes and then is served with mushrooms, peas, or other seasonal vegetables. For Hanukkah, raisins are added and the dish becomes riso con l’uvette.
5 to 6 cups chicken or beef broth, or part water and part broth
2 tablespoons olive oil or rendered chicken fat
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon saffron threads, finely crushed and steeped in 2 tablespoons hot broth
3⁄4 cup grapes, or sultana raisins, plumped in white wine and drained (optional)
Pour the broth into a saucepan and bring to a simmer; adjust the heat to maintain a bare simmer.
Warm the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and parsley and
sauté for a few minutes until softened. Add the rice and stir until the kernels are opaque, about 3 minutes. Add a ladleful (about 1 cup) of the simmering broth and stir until the liquid is absorbed, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn down the heat to low and continue adding the broth, a ladleful at a time, stirring until each addition is absorbed before the next is added, until the rice kernels are al dente in the center and creamy on the outside, 20 to 25 minutes in all. Add the saffron infusion about halfway through the cooking, and add the grapes during the last addition of broth.
Serve immediately. Serves 4-6
Recipe: Kosher, side dish, meat